November 2015 Financial Reports

Baby29 in Ball PitThe Falcons and Chiefs are both 6-5. Six and five is an unremarkable record, and if the season ended today, both teams would sit just outside the playoff bubble. However, beneath the surface of that identical record, the teams couldn’t be more different. Atlanta is playing like a lost team, turning the ball over at inopportune times and losing 5 of 6, including a few to bad teams (with the only win coming against the league’s worst team, Tennessee). Kansas City, however, is playing inspired football. Alex Smith is knocking on the door for the record of consecutive passes without an interception. The run game is beating down opponents, and the defense is looking top tier.

Despite the identical records, Nate Silver gives the Chiefs a 78% chance at the playoffs, while the Falcons have just a 24% chance.

I say all that to defend what is probably a very below average financial report. November’s report is very “6 and 5.” However, under the surface, a lot of really good things are happening, which I will talk about. In not so many words, I feel like the Chiefs.

The holidays are in full swing, but the Retire29 household has been in the Christmas spirit for a month now (we set up our tree on November 1st). Christmas music echoes in the halls of our home, smells of cookies and spice waft in the kitchen, and in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year—seriously.

We took our longest vacation ever (8 days) to Atlanta over Thanksgiving. We took a train down and a car back (thanks for all the baby gifts, grandma!). While there, Baby29 experienced her first ball pit.

Baby29 also had her first date…

Baby29 on a Date

I checked this guy’s Facebook page and his criminal record. He checks out (so far), but I’m keeping my eye on him. If he tries any funny business, I’ll have to bust out “The Regulator”

The Regulator

It never ceases to amaze me how this blog creates content. In October’s report, I spoke about a great queue of content coming up. Well, I did get out my usual six-eight posts, but only one or two were actually planned. In November, I wrote about:

I was also interviewed at Islands of Investing. I think you’ll enjoy that.

As I said at the top, financially and otherwise, things were merely average in November. But, I’m really excited for the future.

Let’s talk about it…

The Path to Retirement

Retire29 Path to Retirement November 2015

My passive income plus side hustling covered 13.6% of my expenses in November. This half-a-year sideways trend is about to make a step-change up.

Passive Income

Retire29 Passive Income November 2015

Dividends

See Investment Portfolio for Full List of Holdings and Details

Paid: $831.88
Previous Forward Dividend Income: $795.55
New Forward Dividend Income: $774.29 (-2.7%)

Uh Oh, a big drop in forward dividend income. The protracted drop in oil prices, while greatly helping the consumer (and consumer stocks like Apple, Starbucks, Hasbro, Netflix, or Disney) is really hurting some of these upstream (exploration and drilling) energy companies. What’s more, complementary sectors (materials and industrials) are getting pinched as well, as the low input costs are increasing competition and decreasing their pricing power. This all led to Atwood Oceanics to cut their dividend 70% and Textainer to cut their dividend in half. Double Ouch. On the plus side, this greatly reduces their liquidity risks and gives them more capital to get through however long this takes.

These dividend cuts (plus Hi-Crush’s dividend suspension last month), I must say, weren’t expected by me. I always knew cuts could happen, but I thought that these dividends would be safe. So, now I question what other dividends I hold are next on the chopping block?

Thankfully, not many seem to be in these dire straits. Potash, BHP, and Holly Energy could be three that I see as candidates for a cut. BHP is probably most at risk, as their business is very capital intensive, and the payout ratio has gotten astronomical. Potash can probably weather the storm of low commodity prices for maybe another year, they can still afford their dividend—but barely. I wouldn’t be surprised if they held steady or dropped the dividend a bit at the end of January (when they typically announce dividend changes).

Holly Energy has an 11-year streak of dividend increases. Cutting the dividend would be seen as a major “canary in the coal mine” sort of moment for the oil industry (HEP is a major bellwether). I can’t imagine they cut for at least another year, but I can’t be certain.

However, this is all very healthy. My income drops today, sure, but that money will be simply held in the company’s hands, rather than the shareholders. Right now, oil industry dividends are seen more as a “check the block” sort of thing rather than “hey, look how great we’re doing” sort of thing. That isn’t good. Oil prices will rebound eventually, and these once-weak hands will start growing the payout again.

Interest

Paid: $0.00
Previous Forward Interest: $42.74
New Forward Interest: $42.99

My annual interest payment for my annuity occurs in April. I’ll continue contributing a little bit each month to this account.

Side Hustles

Retire29 Side Hustles November 2015Welp, November was quite weak for blog income. Nine bucks. I took away a couple Adsense ads late October, and November saw a noticeable drop in conversions. I’m fine with that. Blog income really isn’t important to me. As readership grows over the next many years, I don’t think I’ll have a big problem monetizing a bit better. That’s a problem for tomorrow.

About that viewership, page views were actually the lowest since June. Let’s just say that I’m an idiot when it comes to blogging. There’s this little block in WordPress Settings asking, “Discourage Search Engines From Indexing This Site?” Well, when I started this blog 15 months ago at three in the morning, I must have checked that box. APPARENTLY, that’s a colossally stupid thing to do. My organic search referrals were about 10 per day. Now that I’ve unchecked that box, they’ve jumped to 60-100 per day. Boom, traffic has doubled overnight. Unfortunately, I only found this like a week or so ago. I’m confident that December will be, far and away, my strongest month ever for traffic (it’s already looking that way).

That’s a good thing, too, as I was starting to really get discouraged that it was so hard to generate traffic.

Expenses

Retire29 Expenses November 2015Expenses were high, but that’s okay. I paid off one car this month, so Auto (which also included our semi-annual insurance payment) will never be this high again—except potentially for some outlying car repair months. From here on out, Auto should be around $450/month, until the second car payment is gone (first couple months of 2016).

The Bad: We dined out quite a bit in November during our 8-day vacation. The wife loves her some deep south Waffle House. Plus, that vacation did cost us some money. The train tickets were paid for with points, but we got a rental coming back, a rental in/around Atlanta, and we had to pay the cat babysitter.

Home/Other was a little steep. We bought some Christmas decorations, Amazon Prime Renewal, Veterans Advantage membership, a pair of shoes, a bunch of cat food, sheesh, I’m sure you do not care. But, this is our 3rd highest Home/Other month since I started tracking.

The Good: Utilities improvements are hopefully finally paying off. $112 combined for gas/electricity/water is pretty darn good for us. This will go up as it gets colder, but this was our lowest utility bill ever since we moved into the house (in 2011). Way to go CFLs and water heater blankets!

Phone/Internet was also the lowest it’s ever been. We’re now firmly into RingPlus, so our iPhone bills combined are less than $20/month.

Work To Do: Gotta work on that second car payment and kill it ASAP. That will free up a lot of money to pay down other debt or finish the basement. I showed about 30 dining transactions in November. That’s probably too many. Even though we dine on the cheap, the small stuff really adds up. December (and onward, I’ll try) will be a lot more home cooking.



Net Worth

Net worth dropped 0.52% this month to $350,404. The S&P was down 1.2%, so I lost less than the index (this all all thru Dec. 3rd, technically). My consumer debt level is noticeably smaller, which is exciting. As the cars continue to be paid down, and interest free credit card debt is paid down, this pushes up the net worth bars.

Retire29 Net Worth November 2015

Thanks for reading and following along. The next few months should be pretty great: second car paid off and sold, end-of-year bonus, a raise (hopefully), tax returns, basement finished, IRA contributions, so much moving around today in order to relax completely in a few years…

Eric

Previous Financial Reports:

2015: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct

2014: Dec

14 Comments

  1. Looking good 29. You’ve got a very solid net worth there and over $800 in income is awesome! I wish we were bringing in that kind of income! It’s a catch 22 with the oil situation right now. I’d love for oil to rocket to $100 overnight because my portfolio would be looking incredible and there would be less worrying about companies going out of business or cutting dividends. At the same time, I love buying $2 gas for my big ol’ truck. Of course, if oil goes up, dividends are safe/raised and more money to pay for $4 gas again… when we retire. First world problems lol

    Keep up the great work sir, and great to hear you got a nice long vacation in there!

    ADD
    American Dividend Dream recently posted…Dividend Income – November 2015 UpdateMy Profile

  2. Nice work 29!

    You think you have a eating out problem, check our report out. It’s gotten better but we still spend about $1,200/month on groceries and eating out combined. It’s just two of us…it blows my mind…but then I remember it is one of our favorite things in life.

    Do you have any other side hustles besides the blog that you are working on?

    Congrats on killing the loan on one of your cars.

    Cheers,

    Dom
    Dominic @ Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…November 2015 – Detailed Financial Report #11 – Net Worth $311,820 [+71.9% YTD]My Profile

  3. I really thought the falcons would be much better then they are now especially at the beginning of the year. I am glad to see Julio Jones is still producing (for fantasy) though! Chiefs are definitely stepping their game up lately and I wouldnt be surprised if they make the playoffs.

    That is funny you had that wordpress box checked, i bet your page views will sky rocket now. Good thing you found that. This whole time you have been wondering what have you been doing wrong I bet! haha, well if I were you I would put those adsense ads back up.

    I know blog income isnt a big deal for you but any additional income helps. My blog has been generating anywhere from $100 to $200 per month and I just deposit that money into my real estate savings for a future purchase. One day from now, a long time from now, my blog will buy me a new rental property!!
    Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries recently posted…November 2015 Net Worth UpdateMy Profile

    • And now, they just lost again to the Bucs. Things are looking really bad down in old ATL.

      You’re definitely doing some good things regarding income at CFD. I’m very reluctant to blanket the ads too much. I did add one responsive ad to each new post, but that’s about as far as I’m going to take it. Far better would be to develop some digital products down the line, and if I can develop a reputation, perhaps offer coaching services.

      Eric

  4. Hey, at least you’re not a Cowboys fan like me, 6-5 would be a dream 🙂 I’ve written a few blogs about increasing site visits and Twitter followers, that may help with the monthly visits.

    Increase Twitter followers: http://www.weretiredearly.com/Blog/2015/11/14/why-its-important-to-have-twitter-followers-and-how-to-get-them/

    Increase Google Ranking:
    http://www.weretiredearly.com/Blog/2015/09/28/wordpress-seo-tips-for-google/

    Best of luck.
    Steve Miller recently posted…How to create mini-vacations for Little CostMy Profile

    • Hey Steve,
      Believe it or not, I’ve read like all of your articles–including both of these. I’m definitely going to use your Twitter tips. I just got into SEO like a month ago, and I’m finally paying attention to key words.

      Eric

  5. November was tough for many… I’ve been reading high level market trends and lots of talk about a bearish market setting… Interests rates finally going up which is going to have a good impact and amplify the oil situation.. There is an enormous surplus of oil as I understand the largest ever in history and with all the fuel efficient gains that have occurred the last decade globally we are using less… The demand is down so the industry is retracting and will for several years to come. With smart moves it could be a time to get into oil energy, but better to wait and let the companies that will collapse… Collapse first then start to get in. Interesting to see how all the green energy and none oil using trends have picked up and very easily could crush an industry that has been huge for decades. It’s a time to see how disruptive technology can completely change an industry landscape. The all important diversification is key to keep a somewhat stable portfolio here. I’m still trying to find my balance also.

  6. I feel a lot like you Eric, I just had my best month ever on income (side income anyway) and yet I had one of the worse months in expenses ever as well. My wife’s car needed repairs and that’s never fun (a nice $700 bill), but I’m still doing ok I think. I will say one thing about this post, that guy looks way to comfortable holding your daughters hand I would watch out for him.
    Tyler recently posted…Coming SoonMy Profile

    • Lol, you’re a funny guy, Tyler. Yeah, he cozied up a little too easily. I got my good eye on him.

      Life is a lot like earnings reports. Nobody cares how things are going. They only care about how things are about to go.

      Eric

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